Exit Stephen Hopkins

Submitted by Brian on December 3rd, 2012 at 2:11 PM



Fullback Stephen Hopkins has left the team, according to all of twitter. That's unexpected. Hopkins had some injury issues early this season and was on the verge of getting Wally Pipped by Joe Kerridge but had seemingly fought his way back to starting before a pretty terrible outing against Ohio State. Seems like that was a breaking point but that's just speculation.

With Paul Gyarmati graduating, that leaves Kerridge and freshman Sione Houma the main options at fullback, which is fine. Kerridge seemed to be a better blocker than Hopkins anyway. Houma has played on special teams for whatever reason and seems like more of a run/catch threat from the spot if and when he sees playing time. In addition to those two guys Michigan is also bringing in Khalid Hill and Wyatt Shallman as H-back sorts*, so they're fine at the spot.

Hopkins leaving opens up a 24th scholarship in the class, with more attrition pending. Given the flurry of offers Michigan has issued in the past few weeks it's clear they're looking for another linebacker, preferably a SAM type**, and I would guess they go above 25 if they find enough players they like.

*[FWIW I bet a dollar Shallman is on defense by the end of his freshman year.]

**[I don't think this has anything to do with Cam Gordon or Jake Ryan. It's more about the freshman class. If Royce Jenkins-Stone isn't going to be a SAM, and it doesn't look like he will, then there is no one younger than Ryan on the roster who can play the spot. Even if they make the logical move and slide Mario Ojemudia over, they could still use another guy there before Michael Ferns arrives in 2014.]



December 3rd, 2012 at 4:21 PM ^

People say Darboh should have redshirted, too.  You can't just redshirt every kid.  Some of these guys have to play special teams.

This isn't necessarily just directed at you, but people were mad that Countess got hurt on special teams...and some people are mad/confused about freshmen playing on special teams.  So they don't want starters playing ST, but we shouldn't be playing freshmen, either.  I guess the only guys who should play special teams are the crappy but "experienced" backups.


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:02 PM ^

I hate to see anyone go, but you had to kinda see this one coming.  I feel like the previous coaches led him to believe he could be a running back knowing full well he was more likely a full back.  And, just watching him at FB, although he had the body type for it, he always seemed hesitant to at that position.  I rarely saw him decisively hit a guy and block him off the ball.  In fact I can remember on more than one occasion he just kind of ran without ever blocking anyone.  I don't want to hate on the guy, becuase this isn't his natural position, and he likely didn't want to be there.  


The one thing that concerns me is that we could be doing the same sort of thing with Shallman, telling him he will be a RB, but knowing full well he's probably better suited for FB and trying to talk him into it down the road.  That's purely speculation, but if it's true I don't think we should lead a kid the wrong way if in fact we really see him getting more snaps at FB than RB.  Anyways, I hope Hopkins catches on somewhere else and gets to play the position he desires.  I wish him the best and am sorry it didn't work out here for him.   But, I don't mind attrition of RR's guys & extra scholarships for this coaching staff to get the guys they want to fill their needs.


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

I don't think it's as nefarious as you make it sound. Coaches only promise a chance to compete for a position. Hopkins got that chance and lost the job due to fumbling issues. He was likely offered a chance at playing time at FB and took it. Likewise, Shallman will get a shot at RB. If he wins the spot, great. If not, he'll be faced with a similar situation to either play at FB or DE, or be a buried on the depth chart (or transfer). I don't think the kids have any illusions about the situation nor are the coaches misleading them.


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

I hope in Spring when we're wondering "where are we going to get all the schollies for all these players we've offered and want to commit" for the 2014 class we remember this; that there's always some guys who move on for various reasons. But we won't. It's an annual tradition.

Ron Utah

December 3rd, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

With the RR recruiting classes dwindling down to next-to-nothing, I don't think we'll see as much attrition in the future.  Instead of 7 per year, I would expect more like 3-5.  And while it's sad to see a member of the Michigan family go, it is a good problem to have when you are losing talented kids because they can't get enough playing time.  


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

My girlfriend tutored Hopkins last year. She told me he came in wanting to major in business but was told (I don't know by whom, whether coaches or advisors or what) that he wouldn't have time for the B school and the team (apparently only special teams players are not discouraged from the b school). Her impression was that he was dissapointed by that.

I'll add that one thing she talks about a lot from her time tutoring athelets was that, from all that she has heard from players and professors, the academic advisors for the atheletes aren't very good at their jobs. She made it sound as though the advisors pretty much set the player's schedules for them and encourage them to take easy classes. Apparently one of the hockey players almost couldn't graduate because he had never taken any language courses (having never been signed up for one by his councilor - I am of the opinion he shares the blame for this).

In any case, my impression is that Stephon is a smart guy. Apparently his plan if he got drafted was to only play long enough to qualify for lifetime health insurance. Best of luck to him in whatever career he ends up in.


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:40 PM ^

adding a business minor pretty soon - I wonder if some of that is driven by the desire to give more access to athletes...it's a shame to not be able to market the top quality B-school due to the nigh impossibility of juggling both workloads (unless you're Zoltan Mesko, BBA '09)


December 3rd, 2012 at 3:55 PM ^

When I was in the BBA program, there were a couple of athletes.    Rob Pelinka from the MBB team was there and was one of the smarter people I met there.   It's definitely not surprising that he's turned into a super-successful agent.   There was a guy that was a backup lineman on the football team too and one or two others.     Not a ton, but the ones that were there were really sharp guys.


December 3rd, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

Well, Pelinka is certainly an exception. However, I think back in the day when the b-school was a two year thing, if an athlete had a 3.8 or so, the coaches probably gave him the go ahead, knowing he'd have a good shot at handling it. But a BBA isn't just another major at Michigan, and I'm sure the coaches know that.


December 4th, 2012 at 1:20 AM ^

Speaking from experience, the Michigan BBA program is crazy.  Most of us could barely manage homework, recruiting events, and all of the insane group projects by themselves, let alone juggling a D-I sport on top of everything.  Robbie Reid was in my class and I don't know how he did it.  Kudos to him, Zoltan, and any other Michigan athlete that's able to manage it.


December 3rd, 2012 at 4:11 PM ^

I know a GSI who was kicked out of school for talking about one of his students.  I'd tread carefully here, if Michigan thinks you're even remotely close to getting them in hot water with FERPA, they shoot first and ask questions later.  I'm not sure where tutors fit into all of that.


December 3rd, 2012 at 4:28 PM ^

This has been suggested/confirmed numerous times.  I really don't think a lot of these kids who want to go into "business" have a great idea of what the School of Business is all about. I think it would be very difficult to excel in both football and the B-School, so these counselors are probably doing them a bit of a favor.

However, contrary to what you said, I have heard very good things about Shari Acho and her staff.  In general, I think counselors get a bit of a bad rap sometimes because students blame them for things that are the students' own fault.  They're an easy scapegoat.


December 3rd, 2012 at 7:40 PM ^

The fact that in a school as difficult as Michigan we're not getting waves of ineligible players (knock on wood) for bowl games every year says they're doing something right.

And add me to the list of those who have a bigger problem with a tutor sharing stories about her students for public consumption.


December 4th, 2012 at 1:12 AM ^

"If you want to stay elligible for football, you really shouldn't take this major because there's just no way to keep up with the coursework and your demanding practice/game schedule", is not doing a bad job. It's being realistic. A bad jobt would be saying' Eh, sure. Go ahead. Who cares if you flunk out?"

So long as they're not directing kids automatically into African Studies (ICU UNC!), but rather laying out other, less demanding but still interesting and useful majors as options for the kids to pick from, I don't have a problem with that.

Also, if you don't know the requirements for your major, you don't get to bitch at your counselor for that one.


December 4th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

that a player leaving the team said that*....

Or we have Denard Robinson, in public-


I want to say thank you to the academic staff, because Megan (Walters), I know I can be a headache, I can be a free spirit and you can't get in contact with me, but thank you for actually staying on top of me. This winter, I'll be the first of my family to graduate from a four-year college. So I want to say thank you.



*Edit: Not saying that the poster made it up.  Just that it's a 3rd hand account of what Hopkins actually said and how he said it, from a guy who's unhappy enough to leave. So it's more a grain of salt than anyone being outright dishonest.